Turn Your Can Knots into Can Do Woodworking Art

Work Your Knots into Woodworking Art.

Woodworking woodworking woodworking

Wood has long been used as an artistic medium. It has been used to make sculptures and carvings for millennia. Examples include the didgeridoo carved by Australian indigenous people from local species such as the gum tree.

So many wood defects can be made into top selling wood art and home decor. Knots are visible imperfections in wood grain that are circular and darker than the surrounding area. When a board is cut vertically from a tree trunk, the knot will resemble a circle of abnormal wood that was once the base connection of a branch to the tree trunk but has been grown around by the rest of the grain. Knots can be used in driftwood art as well.

The knot itself will not be physically weak, but a knot causes weakness in the surrounding wood because it disrupts the flow of the grain. The grain distorts around the knot and the deviation is the source of the weakness. The greater the distortion the greater the weakness.

A burl is a tree growth in which the grain has grown in a deformed manner. It is usually found on the trunk, at the base of the tree, and sometimes underground in the form of a rounded outgrowth. It is caused by some kind of stress, such as injury, virus, fungus, insect infestation or mold growth.

Burls result in a uniquely patterned wood art, which is highly prized for its beauty. It is valued and sought after by artists, furniture makers and sculptors. Burl wood can be found in many tree species and is used in making furniture, different types of veneer, inlays, turning wood, gun stocks, music wood, and other household items.

Other uses of wood in the arts include:

  • Woodcut printmaking and engraving
  • Wood can be a surface to paint on, such as in panel painting
  • Many musical instruments are made mostly or entirely of wood
  • Driftwood art such as sculptures are sculptures that are made of driftwood found on beaches or along riverbanks.  At Kullaberg, Sweden, Lars Vilks created Nimis a driftwood artwork in the year 1980. This sculpture and two others led to the declaration of Ladonia as an independent nation. Sculptures were created on the Emeryville, California mudflat and marsh area of San Francisco Bay in the late 1960s. The Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy (sometimes called the “Green Oscars”) are sculpted out of driftwood. Artist Deborah Butterfield is known for her sculptures of horses, initially rendered from driftwood before being cast in bronze.


10 thoughts on “Turn Your Can Knots into Can Do Woodworking Art”

  1. The wood decor is an exciting topic, the wood I love it; it’s not an everyday topic. The wood decor is an old yet visually appealing thing in this modern day. The content od the topic is not easy to understand is like science textbook and need time to understand, maybe try to simplify the content and main point in the post, but overall the topic still grabs my attention to reading it. I would like to know more about wood and wood decor, beautiful work there.

    • Thanks you for taking time to comment. Yes I know what you mean about the science language. I’ll work on it. Thank you for your kind words… cheers Jen

  2. Wow. For me this is the first time I see such an amazing art. Creating these sculptures in trees is a brilliant idea and certainly very difficult. I look at that owl and everything seems very real. I think if the trees in the forests or in the parks had each carved such animals everything would be much fascinating. I would like to ask you, can I buy this kind of art online? I would put something like that in my garden. Thanks and keep in touch! 

    • Thank you kindly. Yes there will be a shop on this site soon. I’m just sourcing the right merchants. I will stay in touch. All the best. Cheers Jen

  3. You can fix knots using epoxy. It’s a simple and quick process. You can find epoxy in every wood shop. Using epoxy to repair a knot in wood can turn an otherwise useless board into a workable piece. 

    Th bbest product that can give the best result for filing knots with epoxy is casting resin. 

  4. Many thanks to you for sharing the wonderful article with us .Wood has long been used as an artistic medium for sculpture and engraving .One of my furniture explained to me how beautifully crafted wood imperfections are as a top wood industry and home decor. Knots driftwood art can be used beautifully .The fruit of the burl  is naturally made of wood art which is extremely valuable for its beauty. Artists, furniture makers and sculptors find it valuable and inventive .Burl wood is used in making various types of veneers, inlays, turning wood, gun stocks, music wood and other household items. Also in art, sculpture is used a lot .I will turn my Can Knots into Can Do Woodworking Art in the future and will definitely share my new experience with you. 

  5. As a art lover, I enjoyed reading your article, actually had to google the didgeridoo, I wish had more mentions or images I or other art lovers would have been entertained and more informed via this well written piece. 

    I am not an artist myself, but this article is quite informative for both wood artists and for people like me who can derive read this from a different perspective. As am sure there are those who may not be seeing the possible beauty that can come from a wood that has or had some defects.

    Thanks for putting this together.


    • Thank you Christine, Yes I agree more images would be better. I get a bit concerned about copyright,,so I am gathering my own unique picture from artist around my area who do woodwork. I thoroughly enjoy visiting them and getting more creative in the near future. All the best to you. Thank Jen


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